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Analytical Chemistry

High-Res NMR In Inhomogeneous Fields

A French team reports a method that allows them to obtain NMR spectra even in the presence of inhomogeneous magnetic fields

by Celia Henry Arnaud
June 29, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 26

Variations of magnetic fields in space and time can degrade the resolution of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Such effects are especially pronounced with high fields produced by resistive or hybrid magnets or in applications where a sample is placed outside the magnet. Philippe Pelupessy of Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris, and coworkers report a method that allows them to obtain high-resolution NMR spectra even in the presence of inhomogeneous magnetic fields (Science 2009, 324, 1693). They encode the signal with a combination of radio frequency and magnetic gradient pulses and decode it with another gradient pulse. The method allows them to quickly obtain an NMR spectrum in a single scan. The researchers demonstrate the method with samples containing 1-propanol and 3-buten-1-ol. The NMR spectra obtained in an intentionally poor magnetic field using the new method are indistinguishable from those obtained with a carefully optimized field. The researchers obtained spectra in magnetic fields with spatial inhomogeneities as high as 11 gauss/cm.


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